The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.
After a few days break action returns to Tokyo, where we see several notable fighters in action on the latest “Dangan” card.
In the main event of the card fight fans will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (13-1, 5) battle against Thai veteran Chaiyong Sithsaithong (40-15-4, 29) in a genuinely pivotal bout for the young Naito. The bout is key to the Japanese fighter as it will be his first bout following last year's loss to Kenichi Ogawa, the only loss of Naito's career so far. For Chaiyong the bout will see him return to Japan for the first time since his February loss to touted novice Shuichuiro Yoshino, who took a near shut out over the Thai. Interestingly the winner of this may find themselves thrust into an OPBF title fight before the end of 2016.
Also looking to bounce back from a loss on this card is the popular Koki Eto (17-4-1, 13), who was last seen losing to Carlos Cuadras in a WBC world title bout. The exciting Eto will be looking to claim a win over Filipino Michael Escobia (11-11-1, 3), in what looks like a mismatch in favour of the local fighter. Whilst this shouldn't be a test for Eto we are expecting to see him show more boxing nous here than usual with the fighter stating that he has been working on making more of his jab in the build up to this fight.
In an under-card bout the promising Sho Kimura (10-1-2, 4) looks to continue a 12 fight unbeaten run as he takes on the limited but heavy handed Yamato Uchinono (6-5-5, 4). Whilst Uchinono has lost 3 of his last 4 he is still dangerous and Kimura will have to avoid Uchinono's power if he's to come out on top here.
Another under-card bout will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-8, 10) battle against Keigo Soma (7-11-2, 4). Soma is perhaps best known for “retiring”Kohei Oba, who beat Soma but retired almost immediately afterwards, and although he's nothing special he has proven to be a good test. For the 33 year old Serie this should be a good test to see what he has left, but he's certainly a fighter who is a long, long way from his prime. Given how far Serie has slid this could be a very entertaining and well fought bout to prepare fans for the more significant contests higher up the card.
The most notable action for Asian fight fans comes from Tokyo where the Korakuen Hall plays host to another Dangan card. The card features a title fight, a bout between two Japanese ranked fighters and an intriguing cross roads fight.
The main event sees Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (25-8-1, 11) defending his belts against the under-rated Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-4-1, 8). The bout, originally scheduled for March, was rescheduled after Akiyama suffered an injury and although the challenger will still be the under-dog we suspect he'll be full committed to proving that he is the better man in the ring. Trying to prove that however will be difficult against the very talented Shibata who is on a 4 fight winning streak following his loss to then debuting Ryota Murata.
The all Japanese ranked bout sees Tsuyoshi Tojo (12-13-4, 2) battling against Masaki Saito (12-10-4, 3) in an interesting bout and competitive looking bout. On paper neither man is great though both are fighting at a similar and both will know a win here could open doors towards a title fight. It's also worth noting that these two fought in November, with that bout ending in a 4th round technical draw, a result both will be hoping to avoid here.
The cross roads bout on this card will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (25-8, 10) battle against Filipino visitor Roman Canto (10-6-2, 5). On paper this should be easy for Serie however the 32 year old has lost 3 of his last 4 and looks to be a fighter who is very much “off the boil”. Canto, who isn't a world beater himself, will come in to this bout knowing that a win will boost his career massively.
Fans in the Philippines also have a card, albeit a relatively poor one in Ifugao.
The most notable bout will see Noel Guliman (6-8-2, 3) battle against JC Francisco (6-10-4, 2) in what appears to be a well matched but very low level contest.
On paper the man to keep an eye on is 18 year old hopeful Pedro Taduran (2-0, 2), who looks to extend his perfect record as he takes on the debuting Garry Placios (0-0), though sadly we were hoping to see Taduran takes a slight step up rather than face a debutant here.
In what appears to be a clear mismatch fans will see Australian based Thai Arnon Yuchareon (0-10-1) take on the unbeaten Matt Burgoyne (2-0, 2). It's clear to see that Arnon is supposed to pick up another loss here and it's hard to see him doing anything but that against a young prospect who appears to have solid power
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Action is back at the Korakuen Hall for the second successive day this week for a show that has got us a little bit excited without truly blowing us away.
The most exciting of the bouts, by far, is the OPBF Light Middleweight title bout which sees experienced Filipino Dennis Laurente (48-5-5, 29) battling against Japanese veteran Tadashi Yuba (46-9-2, 33). The vacant title, recently given up by Koji Numata, is a major reward for the winner though it could spell the end for the loser with both men turning 38 next year. This promises excitement, action and although it won't be the most skilful bout we get in “The Hall” this month it could potentially be one of the most out-and-out fun.
In the chief support bout fan will see Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (10-1, 6) fighting French visitor David Radeff (5-8-2, 2). This bout is a direct comparison bout for Fujimoto who will be trying to do a better job against Radeff than Nobuhiro Ishida did earlier this year. Ishida clearly beat Radeff on points in their bout, back in September, and Fujimoto will be hoping to stop the French visitor to indirectly prove he's much better than his more experience compatriot. We're a bit disappointed by the actual bout but we do understand it and why it's been made.
Although unlikely to get as much there are 3 very interesting under-card bouts on this show.
One of those undercard bouts will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (25-7, 10) battling against the returning Kinshiro Usui (21-4, 10). Usui has been inactive for more than 3 though will be expected to come back with some new found desire and although he's close to 35 we suspect he'll feel he can beat Serie who is himself a faded force. We could end up with a potentially exciting contest or a dud depending on what Usui has left in the tank.
Another of the under-card bouts will see Yuta Matsuo (6-1-1, 4) battle against Yota Hori (12-2-2, 7). This is an incredibly even match up even if it's not something that will really excite international fans. We're unsure who'll be favoured here though it's clear that both men will be coming to win and that the action should be very competitive.
Arguably the pick of under-card bouts is a Flyweight contest at the unbeaten Katsunori Nagamine (9-0, 6) steps in against Ryuto Oho (6-1-1, 2). Both guys caught our eye in 2013 with Nagamine stepping up to 8 rounders in the middle of the year whilst Oho managed to win the Flyweight Rookie of the Year, an award Nagamine actually won in 2012. Unfortunately whilst both guys have looked great in the past they've had very poor 2014's with Nagamine not fighting at all this year whilst Oho is 0-1-1 for the year. This really is a bout both men need to win to make sure they haven't had a year that's to be written off, however both guys are young and a loss isn't the end of the world for either of them.
As well as the 5 bouts spoken about there will be one other under-card bout on this show.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Some times we get days that are ridiculously busy, and we mean ridiculously busy! This Coming Saturday is one such day with more action and more fights that we are used to seeing on a single day!
New Jersey, USA
The most notable of the fights will feature former WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion and current WBO Light Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev (24-0-1, 22). Kovalev will be defending the WBO title for the third time since winning less than a year ago. The unfortunate man to share the ring with the "Krusher" will be the unbeaten, but light hitting, Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6) who is almost certainly going to be the next victim of Kovalev's thudding power and vicious assaults. Going in to this bout Kovalev has stopped his last 8 opponents in a combined 31 rounds! The general view seems to be that Caparello won't last more than 3 or 4.
New York, USA
Kovalev isn't the only Russian in a world title fight and in New York Anton Novikov (29-0-0-1, 10) will be challenging for the WBA Light Welterweight title currently held by the unbeaten Jessie Vargas (24-0, 9). Vargas, who beat Khabib Allakhverdiev back in April, will be making the first defence of his title but the challenger, a former WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight champion, will be looking to upset the once touted American fighter. This bout certainly looks more competitive than the Kovalev fight and looks a bit like a coin toss right now.
As well as title action in the US we also get a female double in Japan in one two Tokyo shows.
The female double header will be held at the Adachi Ward Sogo Sports Center and will be headlined by female IBF Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata (12-3, 3) who will be seeking the second defence of her title. Unfortunately for Shibata she's in a very tough one with the experienced Ana Arrazola (20-9-2, 13). Arrazola has been in with some of the best around and will be expected to give Shibata an incredibly hard fight here and we'd not be shocked by the title changing hands in what is truly a hard bout to call.
Although Shibata/Arrazola is the main event we dare suggest that the other female title fight, between long reigning WBC Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (18-2-1, 5) and former Muay Thai sensation Denise Castle (2-0, 2). Castle really was tremendous in Muay Thai though this will be a big test of ho those skills transfer over. For Koseki we'd like to see her box more than usual, like she did against Maria Jimenez, as opposed to using the billy goat tactics that she has used through her career. If Koseki gets into a war this is anyone's fight whilst if she boxes she should win with out too many issues.
In the chief support bout fans will get the chance to see two debutants in action in a 6 round bout at Welterweight. From what we understand this contest will see Takeshi Inoue (0-0) fighting Daishi Nagata (0-0). It's rare for debutants to collide in 6 rounders but both guys are B Class licensed fighters are have shown that they are capable meaning that this is a seriously tough way to start their careers.
The other Tokyo show will be at the Korakuen Hall and feature several interesting fighters and match ups.
The most interesting of the fighters is former WBA Super Featherweight world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (20-3-3, 13) who will be hunting his second win since losing his world title bout to Takashi Uchiyama. Kaneko will be fighting the limited but tough Filipino visitor Cirilo Espino (19-13-3, 12) who has only suffered a controversial stoppage loss in his 35 fight career. Disappointingly Espino as beaten last time out by Ryota Kajiki a man who Kaneko stopped back in December 2012 and with that in mind we can't see anything but a win for Kaneko. The question here is just how long can Espino last with the heavy handed Kaneko.
Whilst Kaneko is the most interesting fighter on the card he's not in the most interesting fight. That honour belongs to Ryo Akaho (23-1-2, 16) and Masaaki Serie (25-6, 10) who get it on in a potential fire cracker. Akaho goes in to this bout hunting a second world title tilt though, as shown in his fight with Jacker Buhawe, he will need to tidy up his boxing if he wants to have any chance of winning a world title. Serie is probably past his prime but has the toughness, experience and skills to make life very difficult for Akaho here.
The most interesting of 2 Filipino shows will take place in Batangas an will feature two title fights. The most interesting of these is a bout between the unbeaten JR Magboo (15-0-2, 7) and the the promising youngster Virgil Puton (14-3, 7). The men, who battle for the vacant IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title have been matched up very well here and the winner will likely earn an IBF ranking position next month meaning there is a lot to gain by wining this all Filipino clash.
Unfortunately the other title fight is a mismatch to say the least as the talented and unbeaten Ben McCulloch (13-0, 10) defends his PABA Super Middleweight title against the very limited Yodkhunsuk Mor Poowana (3-1-1, 1). There is little one can say to defend this type of match up though we do question why the PABA would allow this contest to go ahead.
Although there are 5 other bouts on the card there was only one that really stood out and that was the contest between Roberto Gonzales (23-2, 14) and the exciting and under-rated Allan Tanada (13-2-3, 5). Gonzales won his first 20 fights but has gone 3-2 in his last 5 with both of those losses coming by stoppage as he career has began to falter. Tanada is best known for his upset win over Japan's Rikiya Fukuhara for the OPBF Super Featherweight title though he has struggled himself since then and this should prove to be a very important cross roads fight for both men.
The second of the Filipino cards seems to be more of a prospect show than one one with really interest contests. It does however have 2 bouts of note.
One of those will see the unbeaten Ardie Boyosi (10-0-1, 7) taking on the experienced and tough Richard Betos (20-8-1, 7). Boyosi has won his last 10 bouts including 6 successive T/KO wins whilst Betos has proven toughness having only been stopped once in his 29 fights. Sadly Betos's has lost 3 of his last 4 and is likely on a slide physically. Boyosi should win but we'd expect this to be a good test for the hard hitting prospect.
The other bout of note will see the unbeaten Neil John Tabanao (7-0, 6) battling against against Jhon Gemino (10-2-1, 4). Tabanao has looked good so far but this should be considered a step up for the unbeaten youngster who will be facing an opponent coming to win as opposed to someone with little self belief.
Back in the US we're expecting to see Filipino slugger Drian Francisco (24-2-1, 19) in action though his opponent has yet to be named. Francisco has been out of the ring for more than a year following his loss to Chris Avalos though he will be expecting to win here in an attempt to restart his career.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we will get to see Filipino Adones Aguelo (21-9-2, 13) battling against former world title challenger Sergio Thompson (29-3, 26). Thompson, best known for his thriller with Takashi Miura, is hoping to earn himself a second world title fight but will likely need to do more than just beat Aguelo here to secure a rematch with Miura, the current WBC champion. Aguelo will know that this is a huge opportunity for him to throw his name into the mix but he won't be expecting to over-come the tough and heavy handed Thompson.
(Image courtesy of http://boxenplus.com)
The next major Japanese card takes place on December 18th at the Korakuen Hall as reason have their final card of the year, "Dangan 90".
The show, a 9 fight car, is headlined by a very solid looking domestic fight as Masaaki Serie (24-5, 10) fights against Rikiya Fukuhara (27-7-1, 20). The bout, being fought at a catchweight, sees two men who are highly ranked in their divisions colliding in one of those rare 8 rounders that has hardcore Japanese fans salivating.
Whilst it's highly unlikely either Fukuhara or Serie will ever become a world champion, there is no doubt that we are looking forward to the bout that will headline the show. We tend to favour Serie who is naturally the tougher man but Fukuhara is certainly the puncher and also the marginally bigger man.
In the chief support bouts, also scheduled for 8 rounds, we will see two bouts. The better of these sees the Japanese ranked Kengo Nagashima (12-10-2, 11) taking on fellow puncher Tatsuya Miyazaki (8-4-1, 8). This should be nothing short of an explosive encounter between two fighters who like to land power shots. The other support bout will see Tomoyuki Omura (7-3, 3) looking for his biggest win as he takes on Yasuhiro Okawa (10-11-1, 3).
Outside of Japan the one bout of note for us is sees Kazakhstan's Dimash Niyazov (4-0-1, 3) taking on the limited Raphael Luna (4-6-2, 1). This appears to be a mismatch on paper though we've real doubts over Niyazov's potential and don't really expect him to go very far.